The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

October Observations: Transition to Frostism

5 Comments

This month I have been busy bringing in the potted plants, transplanting, cleaning up the Potager, bringing in anything that will not withstand freezing temperatures … it’s ongoing.

It took me a week to bring in all my potted plants. Years past I have overwintered most of my potted plants in the cellar but I am striving to achieve plant combinations that will make decent houseplants through the winter and then simply be moved outdoors to voila, become decorative summer containers. I have achieved this with a couple of my potted plants so far and have had great success with begonias. Succulents are also proving promising. I love the mossy patina on this pot that I have had for years. I hope the moss adjusts to the indoors. I could mist it now and then.

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This begonia is finding new life in a terrarium on my plant shelf. (For the history of the plant shelf from a previous post, click here.) I am attempting to root ferns and a few other things this way.

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My plant shelf has received a few upgrades like these beautiful bell jars.

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While planting some peony tubers I acquired from our local garden club (doubting they will make it but then the garden always surprises), I stumbled upon these Milkweed Bugs. They are most likely laying eggs in these pods for their nymphs to eat. I have faith there will be plenty for all of us; bug, plant, and gardener. These are large Milkweed Bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus. Not to be confused with a record number of Box Elder Bugs this year in our area which lack the triangular orange patches on the forewing.

We were frosted October 13th, the same exact day we received our first frost last year according to my calendar.

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After frost is when I usually plant my garlic. These are my biggest and best cloves from this year’s harvest. Into the ground they went on October 14th.

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I completely worked through Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day which is something I rarely miss. I am currently enjoying the blooms of Calendula, Obedient Plant, Chocolate Joe Pye, Cimicifuga, and Honeysuckle. Here in the Northeast the Fall foliage outdoes the blooms at this time of year. We’ve had another surprisingly beautiful Autumn.

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The year-round outdoor containers get a little makeover before being remodeled with Winter evergreens.

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Exciting new bird sightings in the garden during this October’s migration. Though not a new sighting, it was a thrill to witness a small flock of Golden Crowned Kinglets fly back and forth through my garden, among the Bird & Butterfly Garden, and between two opposite neighboring Maples just before dusk. Just last Sunday I made my pilgrimage to the Potager for some greens and interrupted a first time sighting of a Tufted Titmouse at the feeder. I save the best new sighting for last — Evening Grosbeaks! I have not seen these beautiful birds since I lived in Maine. I felt very honored that they would drop in to my small village garden to dine on black oil sunflowers seeds. They are still visiting and I will try to enjoy each moment that they are here.

So begins my transition to “frostism” where the garden tones down its palette to a variation of tan, beige, gold, orange, copper, cinnamon, and brown all frosted with white. 

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Author: Kathy Sturr

Author of the Violet Fern blog, artist, and master gardener.

5 thoughts on “October Observations: Transition to Frostism

  1. Seems like we have just as much work to do in the fall as in the spring. I've brought in all my geraniums and fushias. I keep looking at my begonias but I honestly don't know where to put everything. I may just have to say goodbye to them and buy new ones next spring.

  2. ice crystals, like embroidery stitches.

  3. I just read that the dry season has grosbeaks visiting new areas…we had no frost at all this year but a freeze the same day…so a lot is gone here now. I will be watching how your experiment is going…just got my garlic in this past weekend.

  4. That is a great picture of those box elder bugs. Are they congregating on a pod from the asclepsia plant? I had a million of them on my asclepsia seed pods. The black and orange is very striking. Do you know if they do any damage?

  5. Hi Sandie, they are not Box Elder Bugs, although they look similar. They are Milkweed Bugs and they will lay eggs for their nymphs to eat the Milkweed seeds. I think there will be plenty of seeds for the nymphs and me so I don't worry about them. They are on Butterfly Flower, Asclepias Tuberosa.

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